You run your business. You post some ads here and there. You buy some promotional pens with your logo, and you order some business cards. What is wrong with that? I am marketing my business. Right?
Not exactly. This notion has been a misconception for a very long time. Entrepreneurs, business CEOs, and managers often think that doing some advertising here and there or even closing sales means doing marketing.
But as a marketing guru, Phillip Kotler —one of Marketing’s top professors of all time—, will argue: advertising and sales are a part of Marketing Communications, but they are not marketing.
In his book “Kotler on Marketing,” Kotler quotes Harvard professor Michael Porter. Michael argues that “a company doesn’t really have a strategy if it performs the same activities as its competitors, only a little better. It is simply operationally more effective. Being operationally excellent is not the same as having a robust strategy. Operational excellence might help the firm win for a while, but other firms will soon catch up or pass up the firm.”
“Porter sees a business as having a robust strategy when it has strong points of difference from competitors’ strategies.”Philling Kotler
I have worked with businesses for around 20 years, and I constantly see this misconception and the same patterns. Businesses reach operational proficiency or excellence, start making some good money, and even try to have a basic plan —not sound— for marketing and advertising.
It may help to a certain extent. You put some ads out there, TV, radio, Facebook, magazines, billboards, chances are some people out of the millions exposed may be interested in your product or service. This action will pay off at some point.
The problem with this approach is that advertising it’s only one component of Marketing, but it fails to address so many other fundamental things. On the other hand, marketing starts before you even have a product to sell and before a business is ready to serve customers.
Marketing is not selling either. Marketing is about discovering customer pain points and following up with the right products and solutions to meet them. Therefore, when you think about marketing, ask yourself the following:
- Have we conducted marketing research of our industry?
- Have we segmented, targeted, and positioned our offerings?
- Have we determined our marketing mix based on the previous two questions?
- Do we have an implementation strategy?
- Are we implementing control to analyze our results and readjust as needed?
If the answer to some or all of these questions is no, a significant gap needs to be closed. Your business is missing out on many opportunities to uncover customer pain points.
I don’t want to make this blog very long. I only wish to point out the fact that Marketing is so much more than advertising or selling. Marketing can help you optimize your business, anticipate future market shifts, and prepare for political and economic changes.
Remember that the economic landscape can change so rapidly that you could go out of business in a matter of a few months. We’ve witnessed that with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen some companies adapt quickly and offer many services online, deliveries, remote work, while others have struggled big time and have disappeared.
How is your business doing now? Do you feel confident about the future? Do you find an opportunity to improve in your market? Are you losing sales or struggling to deal with losing customers to your competitors?
Marketing has the correct answers for you. Marketing can take care of all these things for your business by having the right action plan to tackle all the threats you are facing.
That is what we do. That is how we can help you at Aranzamendi.
Let’s talk! Let’s bullet-proof your business moving forward amid such challenging, uncharted waters to navigate as of today.